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Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 91 - Elder Bednar's Coming (Came) Here?

Title - In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader goes to the new Death Star, which is under construction, and asks the Commanding Officer how it's going.  He says that they're not on schedule because they need more men. Darth Vader says, "Then you can tell the Emperor when he arrives."  The Officer says, "the Emperor's coming here?"

Pics -  Rocking his "Huck Camp 2016" Spirit while hiking in Korea (awesome!); Elder Wasson from one of Elder Huckvale's home wards; Elder Eads (Elder Huckvale's MTC companion - and yes... he really is that tall!) and Elder Ridge - both of the Seoul South Mission

Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:28:45 +0900
Hello My Adoring Fans!
This week was really great!  Elder Bednar came to Seoul and we had a combined mission conference with Seoul South.  I got to see a lot of really familiar faces this week!  
On Monday we had dinner at a meat buffet with a recent convert.  It was really great!  We committed him to read the Book of Mormon daily which is something that he's been struggling with. 
On Tuesday we got to go to the temple and it was awesome!  After we had finished our session we were outside taking pictures and all-of-a-sudden the missionaries going home from the Busan and Taejeon missions pulled up (since there's not a temple in their mission, they get to go to the Seoul once on their last day).  Among those returning missionaries was Elder James Wasson (from my home ward) and Elder Noah Hoffheins (who I met at Camp Helaman).  It was really crazy to see them after two years on the other side of the world.  Like what the heck.

Elder Wasson and Elder Huckvale.  So crazy!

After that we went to a sushi buffet with some of the other elders and then to Costco to get snacks for the Halloween party we're putting on with one of the other wards in our stake.
On Wednesday we went and had a special conference with Elder Bednar!  It was awesome!  I got to see Elder Eads and Elder Stapp who were in my MTC district as well as all of my previous companions that have been out in the boonies for the past few transfers.  

Elder Eads (Elder Huckvale's MTC Companion - and yes... he really is that tall!) and Elder Ridge, 
both from the Seoul South Mission

They got to cross the river to go to the Conference.  
Seoul Mission on one side of river, Seoul South on the other.

And the conference itself was awesome!  
Elder Bednar came, he ministered, and then he was gone.  
On Thursday we had a lesson with a less-active that we've been working with and it was really good!  We taught him the first lesson in five minutes and then had him teach it to us and he did a really great job!  It's really awesome to hear his testimony and feel the Spirit witness that his words are true.  At that time I really felt like I fulfilling my purpose as a missionary to help strengthen the faith of those I teach.  We're trying to get an interview set up for him with the Bishop so that he can go to the temple with the ward this weekend to do baptisms for the dead.
Anyways, I had a lot of really cool spiritual experiences this week and I am so grateful to be serving a mission at this time in Korea.  This week we started a mission-wide program to read the Book of Mormon together by December 1st.  While I was reading in 2 Nephi I came across this verse that really impacted me.
And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
-2 Nephi 5:27
Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is living after the manner of happiness.  I know that Jesus is the Christ and that this is His great and marvelous work.  No matter what forces rally against us, as long as we are on the Lord's errand, nothing can stop us.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

Hiking last week on PDay.  Totally rocking his "Huck Camp 2016" t-shirt in Korea!  Love!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 90 - You Have Yet to Realize Your Importance

Title - In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke and Darth Vader are having a lightsaber battle, and the fight has brought them to the end of a gantry (very narrow structure) over a bottomless abyss.  Darth Vader has just cut off Luke's hand.  Luke has basically shimmied his way to the very end of this narrow ledge where he really has no where left to go.  Darth Vader says to him, "there is no escape.  Don't make me destroy you.  You do not yet realize your importance."

Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2016 13:07:19 +0900
Hello My Adoring Fans!
This week has been really great!  We had a lot of meetings this week, but were still able to get out and do some proselyting and teaching.  We're slowly starting to find new investigators.
On Monday after we e-mailed we went out and hiked the mountain behind our apartment called 불암산 (Booram Mountain).  It was really awesome! 
That night we started an exchange with our zone leader, Elder Seely.  Since our zone leaders are in two different teams, he just came to our area in a threesome and his companion stayed in his area with the other zone leader and his companion.  We had a really awesome exchange and were able to learn a lot about the importance of following up with people. 
On Tuesday after we finished our exchange we met with a recent convert in our ward who's slowly become less-active since he got baptized by the previous missionaries.  We talked with him about the Atonement and were able to testify to him about the importance of repentance and changing our lives to be more in line with the life of Jesus Christ. 
On Thursday Elder Baird and I went on a day exchange and went out to the office for leadership training.  Since there are a lot of young leaders in our mission now Presidnet Sonksen wanted to get all of the leaders together to do a training.  It was really great and I was able to take away a lot of insights that will definitely help me as I strive to fulfill my leadership responsibilities.
On Friday as a district we went and did a service project for the local community center.  They did a festival at the park in order to raise money to continue funding their center.  We thought it would be weird to have us selling food as missionaries, so they had us wiping down tables.  It was pretty easy service, but nonetheless really fun and a great experience.
On Sunday after church we went and sang in a choir at our stake missionary conference.  We sang a medley of We'll Bring the World His Truth and Called to Serve and it turned out really well.  At the meeting we were also able to hear the testimonies of some of the missionaries from  our stake so that was really good. 
Something that I've been thinking about recently is the importance of preparation in missionary work.  As I've been serving as a missionary, there have been times when my morning studies were productive and where I was able to learn a lot from the Spirit.  There have also been times when that has not been the case and I become distracted by less-important things and lose sight of the purpose of studying in the first place.  In order to qualify for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, I need to prepare for it.  As I do so, my mind will be enlightenend, and as the Lord has promised, when the time comes to teach, I will not fear.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

Week 89 - You Will Know When You Are Calm, at Peace

Title - (con't. from last week).  Luke asks, "but how am I to know the good side from the bad?" To which Yoda responds, "You will know when you are calm... at peace."  

Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 12:10:29 +0900

Hello My Adoring Fans!
This week was really great!  We didn't really get to do that much in terms of teaching, but we're working hard to overcome our weaknesses and press forward.
On Wednesday we had our zone meeting which was really good.  Afterwards, I started my exchange with Elder Hipps, who's in his first transfer.  It was an awesome exchange!  It's always really refreshing being with a greenie because they have such great faith and energy.  Especially as I've progressed further into my mission, I think that a lot of doubts have formed inside me -- especially doubts about people.  Elder Hipps, however, doesn't have those doubts, and he doesn't have those biases.  It was great!  I learned a lot from him about being bold and having the faith to find those prepared to receive the Restored Gospel.
On Saturday and Sunday we watched General Conference and it was awesome as expected!  I learned a ton through the Spirit as I listened intently to the words of the prophet and his apostles. 

Friday was kind of struggily.  We had set an appointment a few days before to meet  again with a potential investigator that we had met last week.  Elder Jung and I were really looking forward to this appointment and a member had already agreed to go, but on Friday morning we got a text from him saying that he wasn't going to be able to come and I was devastated.  I felt my faith weakening.  I kneeled down in earnest prayer before Heavenly Father and pleaded with him to help me feel His love.  I was expecting to suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of peace or the so-often-referred to "burning in the bosom", but neither of these things were felt.  My emotions calmed down a bit and my anger and frustration turned to peace. 
The next day we watched General Conference -- the feelings I had felt the day before still fresh in my mind.  Right off the bat, President Uchtdorf starts talking about the importance of the Plan of Salvation.  He illustrated an image of the pre-existence where we all lived with our Heavenly Father.  It was there that we all learned of our Father's plan for us and by our own free will and choice, agreed to live by it.  We all agreed to come to this earth and be tested.  We all have the same goal:  to return to our Heavenly Father. 
As I was reminded of this sacred truth, I remembered that everyone needs and wants to receive the Restored Gospel.  My faith in the plan and my faith to press on were both strengthened.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

Meat Buffet - always a favorite!

Week 88 - How am I to Know the Good from the Bad?

Title - Luke is on Dagobah and he's being trained as a Jedi by Yoda.  Yoda is currently in a backpack on Luke's back.  As Luke is running through the forest, Yoda is teaching him and he's explaining the Dark Side of the Force to him.  How it's the "quick and easy path", but once you start down the Dark Side path, there's really no turning back.  So Luke asks, "but how am I to know the good side from the bad?" 

Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2016 12:33:43 +0900

Hello My Adoring Fans!
This week was great!  We had transfers this week and Elder Jung and I were joined by 4 new missionaries in 상계 (Sanggye); two trainers and two greenies.  They be training everyone out here!
On Monday night we had our second and last music proselyting activity.  The reason being that our music elders both went home this transfer.  Nevertheless, it was a great success.  We and some support from the members and we were able to talk with lot of potential investigators. 
Wednesday was a pretty interesting day.  It was transfer day and we had four new missionaries coming to the area, so we had to figure that out.  It was pretty interesting.  Elder Baird and his greenie Elder Hipps, ended up coming via the subway/bus system.  This is usually the most effective way of travel here in Seoul, but that's not to mention the fact that they were each carrying three giant suitcases through the crowded subways and stations.  Struggily.  They were also proselyting on the subway and so they got kicked off.  Usually this is okay, but I think that because they were hauling around all of their suitcases, they looked suspicious, so they got booted.  Anyways, they were both able to ultimately make it to Sanggye and we met them at the subways station near our house and helped bring their luggage back.  The sisters, Sister 염은진 (Eunjee Yum) and her greenie, Sister Lampert, on the other hand, came by taxi from the mission office directly to their house. 

New District - Elder Jung, Elder Huckvale, Elder Baird, Elder Hipps, Sister Yum and Sister Lampert 

On Saturday we had an appointment with a potential investigator that lives near our apartment who I've been trying to meet with for a while.  His name is 구 (Koo) and he lived in Malaysia when he was young so he's really good at English.  We met him at a coffee shop and were able to have a really good talk with him.  He's had a pretty rough and tragic life.  As we listened to him talk, there were a lot of times where I thought I should jump in and start sharing about the Gospel, but I felt the prompting to just wait and listen to what he has to say.  As we listened, the Spirit was then able to testify through us of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His Atonement and how through it we can become cleansed from not only sin, but every bad thing in this life.  He asked us about how he could do it, and so we started talking about the Book of Mormon and invited him to read it, but he said that he wasn't ready for it now.  He said that he would be good with meeting again though. 
The rest of the week we spent a lot of time visiting members and proselyting.
I had a pretty intersting experience this week.  I was thinking deeply about where Elder Jung and I are at right in terms of investigators and the status of our area.  I kept thinking about if there was some way that we just do something and then we could have investigators.  "There has to be a trick to all this" I thought, "if we can just figure out the secret then we will be really successful and be able to find a lot of people to teach!" As I continued to think, I remembered an often quoted line from an President Ezra Taft Benson talk where he says "the secret to missionary work!"'
I remembered all of these times before my mission when I had to do something, I would either try and find the easiest way to do it, or I would make an excuse to try and get out of doing it.  This cannot be done with the Lord's work.  The only way to do the work is by working.  Something that I have heard so much, yet have never fully-realized.
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale

 Outgoing groups' "last meal" :)

Week 87 - You Can't Win, But There Are Alternatives to Fighting

Title - In Star Wars, our heroes aboard the Millenium Falcon have been caught in the Death Stars tractor beam. Han tries to steer the ship out of the tractor beam, but he is unable to.  He says, "I'm going to have to shut down.  But they're not going to get me without a fight."  And then Ben Kenobi says, "you can't win, but there are alternatives to fighting."

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 12:04:45 +0900
Hello My Adoring Fans!
We had transfers this week!  I'm going to continue serving in 상계 (Sanggye) with Elder Jung!  I'm so excited to be able to stay and I'm continuing to hold on to the hope that I will end my mission here in Sanggye.  As for the rest of the district, Sister Shaver is leaving and as of this morning, Sister Hale is also leaving (lame).  We're really excited though because a new team is going to be opening in the room next store! 

Anyways, this week was great!  We had a lot of meetings and so we weren't able to do as much teaching as we would've liked, but the week was a blast nonetheless!
On Tuesday we got to go to the temple!  I had a really awesome experience!  I had a question about what I should do after my mission and so I went to the temple seeking answers from my Heavenly Father.  As I prayed in the Celestial Room of the temple, I felt an overwhelming peace come over me in answer to my honest plea.  It was an incredible experience and it helped me to strengthen my testimony that God lives, that He knows me by name, and that He loves me.

After we left the temple we spent the day with some of the elders from a different area in our zone and pretty much traveled all across downtown Seoul.  None of us really had a plan of what we were going to do, but we ended up going out to eat at a buffet and then rushing over to check out Seoul Tower.  We came back to our house exactly at 5 o'clock with just enough time to take a nap before heading out to proselyte.  We probably used our time as effectively as possible.
At night we went out to visit members and less-actives and we able to find them all in their homes!  It was a huge miracle and opened to door for us to have some really great teaching opportunities.
On Thursday we headed to the office for 12-week follow-up for trainers and trainees.  It was really great and it really reminded me of when I was being trained over a year ago.  It's really crazy to see how fast the time goes by.
Plus there was Subway!
On Friday we met with a potential investigator and had a really awesome experience as we taught him.  He has English interest but he's hesitant to do our English program because he's really active in his church.  I explained to him that we're not going to try and fight with him about which church is right.  We're not trying to destroy his faith, but to build it up and we use the Book of Mormon as a tool to do so.  After I explained that the situation easened up a lot and you could tell that his heart had opened and we were then able to testify and share our experiences with him.  It was awesome!
The weekend was spent going from house to house eating dinner with the members on account of it being Sister Shaver's last weekend as a missionary. 
Even though we didn't have that many opportunities to teach, this week was still great!  I know it seems strange, and that it's what everyone says, but serving a mission is the funnest thing that I've ever done.  Every second of every day I am so happy.  It doesn't matter how many appointments get punked (there are a lot) or how many people reject me on the street or fall through with commitments, as I forget all these things and just focus on helping them, then it doesn't matter.  I know who I am, and I know who God is.  I know that through the Atonement of His Son Jesus Christ, even though I am not perfect, and even though I make mistakes (again, there are a lot), as long as I keep trying and keep pressing forward, that I will be doing what my Father in Heaven wants me to do. 
Love and Miss Y'all!
Called to Serve!
Elder Huckvale